And Now There Are Ten

I finished the edge stitching, embroidery and leaves/stems on the last of the ten pieces this morning. I removed the excess stabilizer from the back and pressed each block.

Now each needs to be mounted on a 6×6 stretched canvas panel. I still have to decide whether to place batting beneath each before securing the silk to the back of the wooden frame. I’ll cut out a few pieces of batting and see how it looks. I also have to trim the silk panels to remove excess fabric so they’ll attach smoothly to the framing.

That’s for another day.

I survived Hurricane Fiona – the NE winds howled and pounded rain against my windows for a couple of hours. This storm was as severe as Hurricane Juan in 2003 – even though landfall was about 150kms from Halifax (Fiona came ashore at Canso) – in 2003 the city took a direct hit. Nevertheless winds here were strong enough to do significant damage. We were given ample warning – emergency measures folks were concerned about damage from falling trees because they still have all their leaves. They weren’t wrong.

I didn’t suffer a power outage, although a good portion of the city is still without electricity and for some it will take days before repair crews can get to them. A friend came over this morning to shower and do a bit of laundry! She’s hoping to have her power restored before Wednesday (which is her predicted date!).

6×6 – Six Finished

I’ve been procrastinating the past week – no idea why – but today I got back to the two 6×6 pieces I had 1/2 finished and completed them.

There are now six. [The outline is done with a Frixion heat-erasable pen. I’ll remove it when I’m ready to mount the individual pieces on the 6×6 stretched canvas frames.]

6×6 Six Finished

I have another couple of hours this afternoon – there are four 6×6 prepared – I’ll get a start on the edge stitching for a couple of them.

The Challenge – Part 2

Two more 6″ x 6″ blocks completed.

It’s taking about three hours to do each block what with the edge stitching on each piece of fabric, free motion stitching in the stems, stitching the leaves (which are decorative stitches) and embroidering the centres (which is taking way more time than I expected – for some reason my top thread is fraying when I’m embroidering so I get stops where I have to clean up the mess, backtrack the embroidery, then continue stitching.

So far, the signature is stitching out without breaking the thread! After I’ve pressed the block, I’ve redrawn the 6″ outline with a Frixion (heat-erasable) pen so I know where my edges are.

Three more left of the original six I prepared. When those are finished (in about a week or so) I’ll layout the remaining four.

Experiment – Flowers

Flowers on Silk

This is an adaptation of my Modern Flowers idea, an outgrowth of the Blue Flowers banner piece. Difficult, however, to decide what to do in a 6″ x 6″ space!

I started with a 10.5″ square of woven silk habotai fabric. Next I opened a baggie filled with circles left over from the Blue Flowers banner and began laying some out. Always the same decisions – centre the circles, offset them, relative size of adjacent flowers….

Once I had an acceptable layout, I fused the circles to the silk, added a 6.5″ x 6.5″ layer of batting beneath. What I didn’t do, and should have done, was add a backing of light tear-away stabilizer – that would have eliminate the bubbling in the silk as I embroidered the edges, stems and leaves. I will definitely add stabilizer to the next experiment.

The tricky element is positioning the embroideries for the centres and the decorative stitches for the leaves. I needed to rebuild the leaf stitch to start and finish at the stem end in order to be able to position each leaf on the stem in a realistic way. And then always the question – how many leaves do I want?

I’m happy with this experiment. I’ll do another couple of these – using the raw silk fabric I have rather than the silk habotai I used here.

There’s still time this morning to move on to another experiment – a crazy quilt block using batik. The question here is whether to cut and fuse it to a background at 6″ x 6″ or to take the quilting to the edges of the base 10.5″ square – that would allow the block to be wrapped around a mounting frame.

In the end I think I’m planning 10 pieces based on a single experiment, rather than 10 unrelated pieces.

Blue Flowers

Blue Flowers

Just finished (well, I’ve still have to hand stitch the hidden binding in place). It took several days to do the thread painting – using decorative stitching around each fabric circle, embellishing the flower centres with embroideries, adding leaves, and stitching the detail in the foreground at the bottom of the piece.

Detail

Here you can see more of the stitching detail – many decisions: what thread colour, which stitches, stitch dimensions. Most of the centre embroideries I’d already set up from a previous floral hanging but they had to be adapted to fit these smaller centres.

This was the image that inspired the piece:

By Marieka Diepenveen

The piece by Marieka Diepenveen is a watercolour. I particularly liked the irregular concentric blue flower shapes and the tiny leaves growing out of the variable green vegetation. I added more colour and adjusted the dimensions and my circles are regular. My vegetation was dictated by the batik I chose to use which had greenery shapes. I might try another where the flower shapes are irregular….

Blue Flowers – Again

I started this textile wall art piece on Jan 23. I managed to get the basic appliqués in place and then I was stumped. Before I could embellish the raw edge shapes I had to figure out some way of stitching “stems” for the “flowers”. I thought about cutting narrow strips of various green fabrics, using yarn (yarn couching – using decorative stitches to tack the yarn in place), even stitching over very narrow ribbon. The issue was the colours I’d used in the vegetation at the bottom of the piece which limited my options. I spent time sporadically playing around with decorative stitches but nothing seemed to set up the effect I was after. I had no suitable green/brown yarn in my stash. And trying to force ribbon into gentle curves, even if I could come up with a suitable colour, wasn’t going to work, either.

After finishing a pair of black corduroy pants this morning (more about that in another post), I picked up my stitching sampler, played with a few more decorative stitches and then decided I’d just repeat rows of straight stitching! I practiced a bit. I matched thread colours with the fabric at the bottom of the hanging and started in.

Blue Flowers

This is as far as I’ve got at the moment. Those stems need small leaves of some sort – I intend to work those in last. Next will be embellishing the raw edges of each layer of the flowers to permanently attach them to the backing.

You get the idea here. The vegetation at the bottom also needs a lot more embellishing but that, too will come after I’ve worked on the flowers and flower centres.

I thought it was the COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit building that had interfered with my working on this piece. It wasn’t. It was my not knowing how to do the stems/leaves that had me stopped. I feel like I’m being creative again. Finally!

Blue Flowers

Blue Flowers

A couple of days ago I started pulling together subsets of blue fabric scraps and piling the pieces into groupings for the flowers. Next I pressed fusible web (glue) to the back of each fabric piece, then cut out “flower” elements.

Circles? Almost Circles? Irregular circular shapes? In the end I opted for more or less circular shapes in graduated sizes, laid them on top of one another, offset somewhat. I removed the paper backing and pressed the layers for each flower together then played with placement on the background. I finished by pressing the flowers in place.

Before I start thread painting the flowers, I need to use a heat erasable pen to mark where the stem/leaf elements should go. I plan to stitch long thin stems with just a hint of leaf shapes – that may change when I get underway and decide to include some fabric cutout leaves.

This is as far as I have got today.

Modern Flowers – II

Just finished. I’ve spent the past four days stitching the edges of the appliqué – the leaves and flowers, and creating embroidered flower centres. It’s been slow but steady. Whereas I did a narrow quilt border on the previous version of this idea (flowers on a black/white background), this time I took the flowers to the border edge and decided to do a hidden binding so the cropping of the flowers was easily evident.

Modern Flowers – II (Wishing For Spring)

This version of the idea is brighter than the previous one. I could continue with variations on this theme, but I’m going to stop here. This is wall art piece #9 – I’m aiming to have 12 pieces completed by the end of July – so I’m getting close. On to other ideas.

Last week I cut a set of “watercolour” jellyroll strips in to 2″ blocks – I want to try doing some kind of “watercolour quilt” with the fabric squares – a wall art piece, actually, not a lap/throw quilt. I thought this would be a quick and easy project – not so sure now that I’m trying to lay out the squares in some kind of dark/light array.

There are quite a few people who are doing these quilts – there are any number of tutorials on how to make one. They use a special fusible gridded interfacing – not going to bother with that – I am planning on simply sewing the blocks together in rows based on the layout I create on my cutting table. Also many versions of these quilts use the “watercolour” piecing as a background for something else – I may end up doing something like that but I have no idea what the top appliqué elements might be at this point. Anyway, this is the next project I’m going to try – let you know how I get along!

Modern Flowers

When I finished the first modern flower appliqué wall piece a couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to try a second hanging – this one laid out on the horizontal with a border but having some the flowers spill off the piece entirely. Also I didn’t just want to repeat the flowers in the first piece – this time I decided to use layers of offset circles, again with leaves flowing through the space.

Modern Flowers – II

Early in the week I took the black/white leftover pieces from the first hanging, created a centre panel, then added a white-on-white mitred border; next I backed the pieced fabric using medium weight woven fused interfacing to stabilize the panel so it will remain relatively flat through the thread painting process. That worked well on the previous piece – Floral Collage – I decided to try it again on this larger piece.

I had kept the pile of small fabric scraps I used on the first flower appliqué on my cutting table – I didn’t have to go looking for more. This morning I cut various size squares from the scraps, added fusible web to each square, then cut out circles from 1″-6″ in diameter. What I have at the moment is a tentative layout. I think I want to add stems and more leaves in a somewhat lighter green to complement the dark leaves I have already cut out.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ll fuse the individual flower elements, cut out stems and more leaves, play with arrangement, next fuse the whole to the background. Then I’ll start thread painting. The temptation is to simple outline each circle using a narrow blanket stitch but I’m not sure I’ll do that – I may decide to use doubled embroidery thread and straight stitch several rows close to the edge – I’m sleeping on that.

Flowers III

It’s done – completed this afternoon. Binding the piece was more difficult than I expected. First I bound it as I would a quilt – but do you think I could get the corners to look alike? There’s often a bit of variation when I do a quilt, but because the project is rather large nobody notices the corners aren’t “perfect”. But on a small piece like this – a rounded corner, or a too pointy one is like a poke in the eye!

Flowers – Finished

So I removed my first binding (fortunately I didn’t have to trim the edges of the piece to any extent), then did a second one by binding the sides, then the top and bottom edges, turning in the ends to form the mitres. Definitely much better, if not completely “perfect”!

The challenging bit on this piece was creating embroideries of small circles which would fill the flower centres mimicking the fabrics I’d used which had small circles. I’m reasonably happy with how that stitching work turned out.

I do want to attempt a second piece like this – but I’ve got two others ready to work on before I get there.

Finished size: 16″ x 21 1/4″